Weekly Motoring news Roundup October 1st

MG MAZE concept

MG MAZE conceptAs we come to the end of another week  we look at some of the motoring news which you may have missed starting with the new MG MAZE concept

SAIC Design has pulled the wraps off a new MG concept to mark its third anniversary and explore a vision of future urban mobility.

The MG MAZE is aimed at the next generation of car users and explores the future of city transport, bringing the fun and pioneering spirit that has always defined MG firmly into the 21st century.

Built around the tag line of ‘Get Out & Play’, the concept brings together mobility and gaming, driven by a consumer appetite for something fresh, bold, brave and exciting.

“With MAZE we wanted to consider what the future of a car community might look like, building from MG’s fan base and following. The move to digital is unstoppable, so we wanted to create a concept that connected this digital realm to the physical one that gives us the real joy in driving,” said Carl Gotham, Advanced Design Director.

MG MAZE conceptMG MAZE concept



“The concept is a reaction to our lives during recent months, where we have been met with restrictions and limitations on our ability to move around and interact. Exploring the idea of ‘mobile gaming’, we used MAZE as platform for people to get out and rediscover their environment in a new and relevant way, opening up new experiences with their city.”

The gaming aspect of the car reflects a desire to discover and reach new achievements, via a points-based reward system. Our car helps users to re-discover their city and their world by seeking exciting digital street art that is interacting with structures, buildings, and landmarks.

The MG MAZE is a compact urban two-seater capable of the utmost agility and functionality in busy urban environments. It’s core focuses are high-technology and emotional design.

The exterior features a transparent shell, emulating high end gaming PC’s with exposed componentry. Its outer surface is fluid and dynamic, exposing aspects of the chassis and interior design, that are otherwise hidden from view.

Inside, floating seats and UX/UI technology have been developed, enhancing the gaming aspect by giving a fun and enjoyable driving experience, while the steering is controlled not by a steering wheel but by the driver’s smartphone.


MILITEM FERŌX-T: The New Sport Utility Truck

MILITEM FERŌX-T represents the maximum evolution of the pick-up as we know it. It also reinvents the current concept of the SUV, transforming it into an SUT: Sport Utility Truck.

The vehicle is suited to daily use as well as off-road excursions. It combines the abilities of an SUV and pick- up into one unit, harmonizing and enhancing the characteristics of each. MILITEM FERŌX-T presents a host of technical and content upgrades, transforming each journey into a unique experience.

MILITEM FERŌX-T: The New Sport Utility TruckMILITEM FERŌX-T: The New Sport Utility Truck



FERŌX-T is a premium-luxury pick-up occupying a position in the premium-luxury, niche market. Naturally, it is a model that reflects and upholds the level of excellence that distinguishes the entire MILITEM line-up. It extends the FERŌX range as a pick-up with different characteristics to the MILITEM MAGNUM.
Based on the Gladiator Rubicon, MILITEM FERŌX-T stands out for its unmatched all-terrain capacity, its high-degree of functionality, all-round safety and undisputed versatility.

MILITEM FERŌX-T has distinct muscular looks but does not compromise on practicality, sturdiness and unique performance. In terms of performance and technical content, the FERŌX-T is the “supercar” among pick-ups!
MILITEM FERŌX-T catches the eye with its uncontainable personality, decisive bodyshape and prestigious, hand-finished cabin. The modifications made have radically transformed a vehicle re-engineered by the MILITEM team.
A new arrival for the European market, but not for MILITEM as it is already fitted to the FERŌX, is the 285bhp 3.6L V6 engine, producing 353 Nm of torque.


The Alvis Car Company: First post-war Continuation Series Graber Super Coupé build completed

The first post-war Continuation Series model, a 3.0-litre Graber Super Coupé from The Alvis Car Company, has been finished. After a two-year build, which was delayed by the pandemic, the completion of the brand-new Graber, destined for Japan, represents a major milestone for the company, which is set to ship at least five cars to customers there via Meiji Sangyo, Alvis’ Japanese distributor.

The Alvis Car Company: First post-war Continuation Series Graber Super Coupé build completedThe Graber Super Coupé is one of six models offered in the expanded Alvis’ Continuation Series with both pre and post-war derivatives. Each model is built to a bespoke specification with options such as air conditioning and all comply with regulations to be driven on the road. All six have been developed from original drawings and feature an in-house designed and manufactured six-in-line 3-litre or 4.3-litre engine. This car draws on the new old stocks of chassis and engine blocks, carefully stored by Alvis since the Coventry factory closed in 1967. That’s when all the factory parts and racking were moved to Kenilworth where this Graber Super Coupé was assembled.

Thanks to the addition of fuel injection, a higher compression ratio (9.5:1) and modern digital machining processes resulting in tighter tolerances, the engine produces 172bhp, up 42bhp from the 1960s’ version. Torque also rises to 209 ft / lbs @ 3750 rpm and it can achieve a 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds.

“Seeing the Graber Super Coupé leave the works at Kenilworth for the first time was a huge moment for all of us at The Alvis Car Company,” says managing director Alan Stote. “So much hard work has gone into producing it by our staff over the past two years, that it’s almost sad to see it leave.

“The all-aluminium bodywork looks stunning up close, the engine runs faultlessly and the handcrafted interior is both comfortable and stylish. As a complete package, this Graber serves as a reminder that our manufacturing processes, which haven’t changed at Alvis since the early 20th century, still produce a product of the highest quality. And unlike so many continuation cars, we have ensured this can be enjoyed on the road.”

With the Graber Super Coupé now road-tested and ready for shipment, focus shifts to the build of the first Continuation Series Graber Cabriolet, which is also set to be exported to the Far East in 2022 and in parallel, the first Lancefield pre-war 4.3 chassis car.

Prices start at £295,000 for pre-war Continuation Series cars with the Graber Super Coupé starting at £323,000. 


From Flying Cars To Electric Dreams – Today’s Kids Can’t Wait To Get Behind The Wheel, As Long As It’s Eco-Friendly and Has Comfy Seats

Young drivers of tomorrow are ready and excited to drive electric with 49% wanting their future car to be powered by electricity, a research study with eight- to nine-year-olds by Ford has revealed.

Ford Future Generation ConceptThe Ford Go Electric: Future Generation study, which spoke to youngsters who will be able to drive in 2030 when the U.K Government moves to only electric car sales, found nearly four in five (79%) are looking forward to learning how to drive a car and 49% want their car to be powered by electricity, compared to just 17% preferring petrol cars, diesel (10%) and gas (7%).

What’s more, this generation is so eager to get behind the wheel, that they’ve set their sights on some ambitious features for their dream first car. When specifying their perfect wheels, the majority of those surveyed wanted a vehicle that can take to the sky and fly. Comfortable seats were a big priority (36%) as was a good sound system (27%), while almost a quarter (24%) wanted self-driving ability and environmentally friendly features (32%).

The youngsters’ wish list has been brought to life by Ford Senior Exterior Designer, Nedzad Mujcinovic in the form of the Ford Future Generation Concept Car. The electric-powered flying car shows what their dream spec could look like, illustrated in a striking red and black colour scheme which proved to be the most popular combination.

Today’s eight- and nine-year-olds are set to be the first generation of drivers to take their test when all new cars on sale will be electric. Ford’s research has highlighted their desire to protect the environment as the motivation for embracing electric driving, with 78% agreeing that we have to try our hardest to look after the planet, by being as green as possible. Children ranked electric cars as by far the most environmentally friendly type of car (45%) compared to petrol (21%), while 19% considered electric and petrol as having the same environmental impact.

As Britain drives towards the 2030 electrification deadline, almost three quarters (71%) of young people felt that adults were encouraging them to be environmentally friendly, and conversely adults are aware of the need to be positive role models. Ford’s separate survey of adults aged 18+** revealed that more than 70% of British adults think they have a responsibility to lay the foundation of sustainable mobility for the next generation. The young people surveyed also named the top environmentalists they felt were setting the best example for a more sustainable future:

Top environmentalists admired by eight- to nine-year-olds

David Attenborough (46%)
Greta Thunberg (36%)
Prince Charles (28%)
Swampy (25%)
Caroline Lucas (24%)

However, research shows that many drivers of today are still reluctant to make the change to electric. One in five British adults think that the ban on petrol and diesel cars should not come in at all.


Hennessey Announces VelociRaptor 600 Upgrade for 2021 Ford Raptor Truck

Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE), the Texas-based hypercar manufacturer and high-performance vehicle creator, has revealed new details of its VelociRaptor 600 package for the all-new, third-generation, Ford F-150 Raptor.

Hennessey Announces VelociRaptor 600 Upgrade for 2021 Ford Raptor TruckAdding a substantial 150 bhp – a 33 percent increase in power – to Ford’s range-topping performance truck, the Hennessey team is targeting a 4.2 second 0-60 mph time and a 12.9 second ¼ mile for the 600-hp off-roader. Hennessey’s engineers will enhance the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine by adding an upgraded air induction system, high-capacity intercooler system with blow off valve, and upgraded engine-management system. All work is covered by a comprehensive 3-year / 36,000-mile warranty.

Hennessey has established its position as the world’s largest producer of modified F-150 Raptors. Over the past 10 years, the company has built thousands of high-performance VelociRaptor trucks for customers all over the world. Based on the popularity of the previous models, the Hennessey team is confident that the 3rd-gen VelociRaptor 600 will become the company’s best-selling model yet. Orders are being taken now for customer deliveries starting in early 2022.


Volvo Cars to go leather-free in all pure electric cars as part of animal welfare ambitions

Volvo Cars is taking an ethical stand for animal welfare in its fully electric cars. Starting with the new C40 Recharge, all new fully electric Volvo models will be completely leather-free.

In the coming years, Volvo Cars will launch a completely new family of pure electric cars. By 2030 it aims to offer only fully electric cars – all of them leather-free.

Volvo Cars to go leather-free in all pure electric cars as part of animal welfare ambitionsAs part of its ambitions to go completely leather-free, Volvo Cars is working actively to find high-quality and sustainable sources for many materials currently used in the wider car industry.

By 2025, the company is aiming for 25 per cent of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content, as it looks to become a fully circular business by 2040. As part of its climate action plans, it also aims for all its immediate suppliers, including material suppliers, to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

The company’s move towards leather-free interiors is also driven by a concern about the negative environmental impacts of cattle farming, including deforestation. Livestock is estimated to be responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, with the majority coming from cattle farming.

Instead of leather interior options, Volvo Cars will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources.

For example, Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo Cars, will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry – setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models.

Volvo Cars will also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly, as the company looks to ensure full traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.

“Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, Director of Global Sustainability at Volvo Cars. “Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.”

Volvo Cars is also looking to reduce the use of residual products from livestock production commonly used within or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as part of the material or as a process chemical in the material’s production or treatment.

The company takes this step because it believes that while going leather-free is a step in the right direction, doing so alone does not make a car interior vegan.

By aiming to actively replace these materials as much as possible, Volvo Cars takes a strong and ethical position to do what it can to help stop animal harm, by contributing to a reduced demand for these materials containing animal products.


 Fiat unveil New (500)RED the first (RED) car partnership

Fiat has announced a partnership with (RED) by unveiling New (500)RED, the first (RED) car in a series of special editions created to help the charity fight against global pandemics. Together with Jeep and RAM, this partnership will help to provide (RED) with more than $4 million over the next three years.

Alongside John Elkann, Chairman of Stellantis; Oliver François, Fiat CEO and Stellantis CMO; Ginevra Elkann, Chairwoman of the Pinacoteca Agnelli, and Bono, co-founder of (RED) attended the unveiling on the iconic Lingotto test track in Turin.

Fiat unveil New (500)RED the first (RED) car partnershipAt the unveiling of Casa 500 and La Pista 500, Olivier Francois, Fiat CEO and Stellantis CMO, said: “Today, Bono and I present the world premiere of the New (500)RED. The mission of this car is to protect both planet and people: it’s electric, to respect the environment and make a contribution to a more sustainable future. That mission is now going even further with (RED) on board. Together with (RED), we also want to combat pandemics, and this is the dual message we intend to convey to the world.”

Francois also added: “This month, I’m very proud to be celebrating my 10th anniversary at the helm of Fiat: 10 extremely challenging years. But we are celebrating with a great result: Fiat currently is the leading Stellantis brand in terms of volume sales, with one million vehicles already sold so far in 2021. This, plus the extra power and resources of Stellantis, allows us to look to the future with optimism. In fact, from 2023, Fiat will unveil at least one new model every year, and each one will also come in a full-electric version.”

Bono, co-founder, (RED), stated: “This partnership with FIAT, Jeep and RAM is a powerful shot in the arm for (RED)’s fight against pandemics and the complacency that fuels them. It’s hard to believe that 15 years on from (RED)’s founding we are now fighting another virus, but it’s even harder to see the virus of injustice that marked the AIDS pandemic is alive and well during COVID. Less than 5 percent of people in Africa are fully vaccinated, while vaccines are plentiful in Europe and America. We have to do more and fast to support the hundreds of millions of people who don’t yet have access to the vaccines, therapeutics or sufficient PPE. Because unless this pandemic is defeated everywhere, no one will be safe anywhere.”

He continued: “This is a real moment for (RED). We have one of the most iconic car companies in the world saying they want to help drive COVID-19 off the face of the planet, and with the New (500)RED they won’t even need petrol to do it. FIAT wants to be as green as they can while they’re going (RED) and that’s a reason to punch the air.”

Jennifer Lotito, (RED) President & Chief Operating Officer, stated: “This is (RED)’s 15th year and we couldn’t be prouder to launch such an exciting multi-year partnership. The global scale and creative energy this will bring to the fight against COVID and AIDS is exactly what’s needed to help us end their devastating impact on so many millions of people. We are deeply grateful to the many teams who have made this launch – and future impact – possible”.

Stellantis has partnered with (RED), and is the first automotive manufacturer to do so, to support the critical work of the Global Fund in fighting against pandemics, including AIDS and COVID-19. From today, it means every (Fiat)RED vehicle purchased from the (500)RED family special series contributes to this cause.

(RED) was founded in 2006 to bring together companies and people in the fight to end AIDS. Today, (RED) is combating two pandemics, AIDS and COVID-19, and has generated nearly $700 million for the Global Fund. The money has helped more than 220 million people, and the money committed by Stellantis will fund more life-saving programs where they are most needed. By partnering with (RED), Stellantis is joining the fight against pandemics and giving its customers a way to join them too.


MAHLE Powertrain and Allotrope Energy unveil breakthrough battery technology

MAHLE Powertrain and Allotrope Energy have unveiled a new battery technology which offers ultra-fast recharging coupled with good power density. By combining the benefits of super capacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries, the new lithium-carbon technology enables a full charge to be delivered in a similar time to refuelling an internal combustion-powered vehicle. In addition, Li-C cells are free from rare-earth metals, are fully recyclable, and are not susceptible to the runaway events The full details are to be presented by MAHLE Powertrain’s Dr Mike Bassett at Cenex-LCV2021.

Allotrope's technology“Range anxiety is often quoted as the main barrier to electric vehicle adoption, but if the battery could be recharged in the same time it takes to refuel a conventional IC engine vehicle, much of that worry goes away,” suggests Dr Mike Bassett, MAHLE Powertrain’s Head of Research.

“With the rise of the on-demand economy, there’s been a rapid increase in the use of petrol-powered mopeds for urban deliveries such as take-away meals, and this has contributed to air quality issues in our cities,” continued Bassett. “Decarbonising these deliveries has so far proved difficult without maintaining a stock of expensive interchangeable batteries or switching to a larger, heavier electric vehicle with increased energy consumption.”

However, in a collaborative project with Allotrope Energy, MAHLE Powertrain has considered how an electric moped could be used as an urban delivery vehicle powered by an inexpensive small capacity lithium-carbon battery that could be recharged between stops in as little as 90 seconds.

Allotrope Energy’s lithium-carbon technology combines the benefits of super capacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries to deliver a cell that can be recharged quickly and yet retains good energy density. The technology features a high-rate battery-type anode and a high-capacity electric double layer capacitor (EDLC)-style cathode, separated by an organic electrolyte.

The result is a battery cell with that suffers none of the thermal degradation effects experienced by traditional lithium-based batteries. Its stability, even at high temperatures, permits high current delivery and fast recharging, all without the need for complex external cooling or elaborate battery management systems.

Additionally, its capacitor-style cathode enables a lifetime of over 100,000 cycles, far greater than conventional batteries, while the elimination of rare-earth metals and the design’s complete recyclability make it better for the environment both during production and long after it.

As part of the project, MAHLE Powertrain investigated the scenario of a city-based e-moped fast-food delivery service with a 25 km target range. A 500 Wh conventional lithium-ion battery would require a recharge mid-shift that, even with a fast-charger, would take more than 30 minutes. In addition, regular fast charging reduces battery life to the point it would likely need replacement every year or two.

A lithium-carbon pack, however, could be recharged at 20 kW in just 90 seconds, meaning a full charge could be achieved in the time taken for the next delivery to be collected.

“With ultra-fast charging, the size of the battery can be optimised to suit the scenarios the vehicle will be used in, and that leads not only to weight savings but also cost reductions that further lower the barriers to decarbonisation,” Bassett pointed out.

“The real challenge came in designing the electrical architecture capable of absorbing such high rates of charge,” said Bassett. “Additionally, with no suitable charging systems on the market that can deliver these charge rates from a domestic supply, we created our own bespoke design.”

The solution Bassett’s team came up with uses its own built-in capacitor-based energy store to deliver ultra-fast charging up to 20 kW by augmenting the power from a typical 7 kW single phase connection, thereby reducing cost and complexity while eliminating the need for expensive power grid connection upgrades.

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